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Nurture Your Family with Home Aquariums

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Substrate: How Much Do You Need? 
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Nurture Your Family with Home Aquariums

In the recent past, aquariums and fish keeping were often regarded as a solitary hobby. However, fish keeping has evolved into a dynamic and social experience, often involving the entire family. Today's fish keepers are comprised of diverse groups including both male and female hobbyists of varying age groups and backgrounds. In fact, according to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 12.5 million US households own freshwater fish. Get involved in this fantastic hobby and discover how aquariums can enrich your family!

Satisfy family interest
Arguably, the greatest benefit of aquariums is the ease at which they integrate into the family. Aquariums fit well into today's modern lifestyle, providing unique benefits to each family member. The different stages of setting up and maintaining an aquarium appeals to individual interests family members may have. Perhaps there's a "techno-phile" in your family. The aquarium hobby embraces technology and the latest trends are quickly assimilated. From energy-efficient LED fixtures, smart equipment with electronic components, to aquarium control systems that connect to your Internet enabled computer or mobile device, the advancements in aquarium equipment will keep your "techie" eagerly involved.

If home decorating and interior design is a passion, then the stylish new aquariums and furniture-like stands are "must haves". The new aquariums are designed to complement and enhance the home environment. The creative options are limited only by your imagination. But remember, like many design features, scale plays an important role. If you have a large space, opt for a larger aquarium to maximize visual impact. With so many facets to the aquarium hobby, before you know it, every family member will be enthused to get involved with the family aquarium.

Education and quality family time
Aquariums offer a fun, interactive platform for education. Even the simple act of purchasing a new fish is a great educational opportunity. Get children involved. Select and research the proper care requirement of new aquarium additions as a family. Spend time together discovering the natural habitat of exotic tropical fish and use this information to provide ideal living conditions. Take advantage of this research and recreate a natural habitat in miniature that is visually striking and unique.

Fish keeping is also a great way to learn about ecology and environmental awareness. An aquarium is a complex living system that relies on numerous biological and chemical interactions. By learning the principles behind aquarium care, seemingly mundane tasks such as water changes or maintenance suddenly become imbued with significance. The information acquired through fish keeping is easily transferred and applied to the global environment. It is not difficult to acquire a keen grasp of environmental issues that concern us today simply by getting involved in the aquarium hobby.

Expand your social circle
Aquarium hobbyists are no longer isolated. Today's hobbyists have access to a vibrant and active community full of like-minded people. From local and national fish clubs/societies to the ever-expanding online community, it is easier than ever to pursue a lively hobby. Share your passion and make new friends. Exchange information, maintenance tips, or even beautiful fish. Better yet, invite family members and new friends to your home. Relax and socialize around your showcase aquarium. The stress reducing quality of a gorgeous, well-maintained aquarium is an instant icebreaker that invites active conversation.

The aquarium hobby is a great way to build bonds and strengthen family ties. Setting up an aquarium as a family fosters a group sense of accomplishment. When you incorporate aquariums as part of your family experience, you create lasting memories. Ultimately, the aquarium itself becomes a beautiful reminder of family.

It has been known for many years that animals can have positive effects on the health of humans. Studies have shown that animals can increase longevity after heart attacks, lower cholesterol, and even predict seizures in people.

In an unusual study, the effect of aquariums on the nutritional intake of patients with Alzheimer's disease was examined. Those conducting the research found that after introducing aquariums into the dining room of a facility caring for 62 patients, there was a significant increase in the amount of food the patients consumed. Weight also increased significantly over a 16-week period. As a result of eating more, the patients required less nutritional supplementation, which also had the benefit of reducing health care costs. In addition to the nutritional benefits, there was also a significant decrease in physically aggressive behaviors among the patients.

Other studies have found that people who watch fish in aquariums have a notable decrease in blood pressure. There was also a trend for aquarium watchers to have a decreased pulse rate and decreased muscle tension. In yet another study, watching fish in an aquarium was found to be as effective as hypnosis in reducing anxiety in patients awaiting dental surgery.

These studies all show that in addition to both the learning and aesthetic benefits of aquariums, people who care for and watch fish can reap health benefits, as well.

Do aquarium fish make good pets?
While they may not be soft and cuddly, tropical aquarium fish make excellent pets. The appeal of fish keeping goes beyond conventional notions of owning a pet. It is an engaging hobby in which the entire family can participate and enjoy.
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